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Dish, Fox Hopper Litigation on Hold

19 Jan, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Not mentioned in the Jan. 15 broadcast carriage agreement between Dish Network and Fox News Network L.L.C., was the prospect of an out-of-court settlement to the long-running legal dispute regarding the satellite operator’s Hopper DVR — capable of deleting commercials on recorded primetime programing, among other features.

With both sides failing to reach an agreement through mediation, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee Jan. 12 said she had reached summary judgment on the matter.

Three days later, however, Dish and Fox reportedly filed a court document indicating the likelihood the two parties could find resolution to the lawsuit, which resulted in a stay, or postponement of the proceedings.

Fox first filed its Hopper lawsuit in May 2012. A Dish spokesperson was not immediately available for comment regarding AutoHop’s litigation status.

Regardless, Dish has heavily marketed (with success) the ad-skipping AutoHop feature as it received favorable rulings from U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles and, separately, from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sling Media technology that enables subscribers to watch recorded programing on devices not connected to the Internet.

Sling Media, in which Dish has a controlling interest, earlier this month announced the pending launch of an over-the-top video service for $20 a month and featuring ESPN, among other coveted content. As part of that service, subscribers will have to watch embedded advertising.

When Dish and The Walt Disney Co. ironed out a carriage agreement last March — paving the way for separate OTT video ventures — Dish agreed to suspend AutoHop until three days after an ABC TV program first airs.

In the new carriage agreement between Fox and Dish, Fox News and Fox Business will not be included in Dish’s pending Sling TV.



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